One thing I’ve learned is that being passive in life usually gets us nowhere fast, and this is never more true than in the field of creativity.We set financial targets, why not creative ones? I set myself creative goals for the year along with those in other areas like relationships and health. Your creative goals will of course be different to mine, your colleague’s and the bloke next door, but here are a few things to get you started.
1/ Try to do something creative, however small, every day
Time is the number one barrier for creativity if our workshops are anything to go by. But just 10 minutes a day is an hour a week (taking Sundays off!), that’s 52 hours a year to focus on developing your creative superpowers. Think about how you could improve almost anything with that amount of time and creativity is no different. Learn a new word, take a different route to work, speak to a stranger, look up instead of down on the way to your next meeting, put your phone on silent for 10 minutes, pick a show at random from Time Out and go to it. Take a proper lunch break. Seek out someone from another team or department and find out what they do in a bit more detail.
2/ Subscribe to a new blog each month
Great minds find inspiration from a variety of sources, so broaden yours with a monthly update on the world of architecture, design, luxury hotels, space exploration or whatever takes your fancy.
3/ Write a letter to yourself this month to be read at the end of the year
“Dear me: my creative goals this year are x, y and z.” If you write it down and refer back to it from time to time, you’re much more likely to stay on target. Make it really specific and meaningful to you, think about what would make you happy, proud and get you promoted all at the same time!
4/ Start something new
We’ve all wanted to take up acting/join a French language class/learn pottery: write it down as something you’re committed to actually starting in 2016 and there’s a good chance you will. If your secret passion has a creative bent then great, but even if not, the mere act of being exposed to something new (and meeting new people) is likely to be of benefit. As creativity expert Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University told The Huffington Post: “Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement.”
5/ Get outside
Your imagination needs feeding. And sitting at your desk is not likely to give it all the good mental nutrition it needs. Just walking has huge proven creative benefits but we’re so busy ‘looking down’ that we often miss the stimulus and inspiration that is all around us (I wrote about this for PR Week last year). Take one of our Creative Safaris or do your own. Trust in serendipity and your unconscious mind to make connections for you.
6/ Learn from a mentor
It can take a bit of courage to admit to yourself that there’s someone around you who could teach you things – even more to walk up to him/her and ask them to be your mentor. But it doesn’t need to be as formal as that, it can all be done from a distance. Observe how someone creative goes about their business and see what tips you can glean from them. If there’s no one in the workplace who leaps to mind, find someone in the public eye and read about them to see how they tick. Or you could go the whole hog and find a real-life mentor.
7/ Create a thinker’s ritual
There will be 10 minute windows throughout your day – the walk to Starbucks, getting ready for bed and so on – where you typically do nothing. If these mind-wandering moments are precious and useful to you – great. If you’re just thinking about EastEnders or the price of diesel, though, pledge to yourself that you will use these valuable pockets of time to tackle a creative problem, be that a long-term goal or a more pocket-sized, everyday challenge.
8/ Write it down
Numerous creatives carry a notebook everywhere they go – buy a nice one and it will feel gloriously tactile and will be just the thing for capturing random ideas, scribbles, little drawings and things you can look back on for inspiration.
9/ Indulge in experimentation
Whatever your creative process, you’ll likely benefit from a hand-on-heart pledge to mix things up a little in 2016. We have a creativity hack pack with helpful tips and tools – sign up here if you’d like one.
10/ Set yourself a BHAG – a big hairy goal
You know that big, hairy creative goal that you’ve been quietly harbouring since forever and have somehow never got round to doing? Why not set your sights on doing it this year? It doesn’t matter whether it’s “ask the boss to consider making me Creative Director” or “visit Cupertino and soak up some of the Apple vibes”: scribble it down, put a red ring around it, and it might just start elevating itself from fantasy to reality.
We are running our most popular training course NowGoCreateOpenTrainingFeb2016 in February as open training courses. If you want help to set your creative goals or to up the ante on your creativity for yourself and your team please contact Lucy@nowgocreate.co.uk for more info.